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Calle ocho Festival

Calle Ocho Little Havana Festival

Little Havana Calle Ocho Festival

Miami Calle Ocho Festival 2012
The Calle Ocho Festival in Miami is one of the most popular 2012 events and festivals in the entire state of Florida. Often described as the nation’s largest block party and Hispanic festival, the event takes place in Miami’s Little Havana and Flagler (West Little Havana) neighborhoods.

Also known as “El Festival de la Calle Ocho,” the Calle Ocho Festival is a one day celebration of “rumba” that takes place at the end of the Carnaval Miami. In 2012, the festival occurs on March 13 in its traditional location between 27th Ave and 4th Ave along SW 8th Street.

According to estimates, more than one million people crowd into the Little Havana enclave to enjoy food, music, dance and entertainment. About 20 stages are set up at the neighborhood’s intersections offering a variety of Latin and Caribbean music including salsa and meringue. In 1998, dancers at the fiesta broke the world’s record for the longest conga line with more than 119,000 people participating.

History of the Calle Ocho Festival
Back in 1978, residents of the Little Havana neighborhood started what would be become one of the most popular events in Miami. The idea was to allow young Cubans to learn more about their culture, but the festival’s popularity soon spread out beyond the Cuban population and to the far corners of the globe.

The Little Havana neighborhood has its origins in Cuban refugees that began settling the area around 8th Street (Calle Ocho) to escape turmoil in their homeland in the 1960s. The Mariel boatlift of 1980 further enlarged the area’s Cuban population.

Little Havana is one of the best Miami shopping spots to find Cuban and Latino products and food, and the festival is the showcase of Hispanic culture in Miami-Dade County.

Cuban food at the Calle Ocho Festival
Cubans love pork and during the fiesta you will find many grills barbecuing pork on a stick along with other pork dishes including pork rinds and pork with mojo, a tangy orange-flavored basting sauce. Another common sight is a whole roasted pig including the head stuffed with the Caribbean staple rice and beans.

Food kiosks are located at numerous spots and many will offer free samples to party-goers. Among some of the other popular offerings are ceviche (seafood), arepas, chorizos, tacos, tamales, ropa vieja con plátanos (shredded skirt steak with plantains), cabrito (baby goat) and many other Latin dishes from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and other Spanish-speaking areas.

Popular drinks include café con leche (coffee with milk) and Cuba Libre, a mixture of rum and coke garnished with lime. The Mojito Cubano is another popular drink made of Bacardi Cuba white rum, lemon and mint.

Entertainment at the Calle Ocho Festival
The Calle Ocho Festival showcases Latino and Caribbean music more than any of the other festivals in Miami. Fiesta participants can enjoy the beats of salsa, meringue, reggaeton, balada, and bachata. But you can also hear other musical offerings including hip hop and every country music.

Remember that Latinos from the Caribbean are accustomed to dancing uninhibited in the street so be ready to “get your groove on.” The Calle Ocho Festival conga lines are one-of-a-kind and participants have great fun marching and dancing down the streets of Little Havana. If you enjoy salsa, then you will delight in finding dancers from the major salsa schools performing on the stages and streets during the fiesta.

You can also find plenty of activities for kids at the Calle Ocho with booths and stages featuring clowns, magicians, and special foods and products for children.

Some of other the events associated with the fiesta are the cooking contest and the Miss Carnaval Miami contest.

Getting more information
The Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau covers all the arts and culture events in the Greater Miami area. You can contact them to get more information on the Calle Ocho Festival and the Carnaval Miami in general. They have extensive resources on accommodations and other important traveler information.

You can also visit the Convention & Visitors Bureau website at http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/Index.asp to find a wide range of online resources for those planning to visit Miami and to attend the fiesta.

The Calle Ocho Festival offers food, music, dance, fun, and insight into Cuban, Caribbean and Latin culture. In addition, you can enjoy the fiesta while also partaking of the many other attractions and events offered in the Greater Miami area.

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